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Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan Phase 2 Project Leader Yoshihiro Masuda

Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan
Phase 2 Project Leader
Yoshihiro Masuda
Professor, Dr.Eng.
Department of Systems Innovation
School of Engineering
The University of Tokyo


Phase 1 of “Japan’s Methane Hydrate R&D Program,” which started in FY2001, was executed by the Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan (also known as MH21), an industry-government-academia collaboration research group. It completed in FY2008.

Phase 1 carried out seismic surveys and drilling surveys in the eastern Nankai Trough (the deep water zone spanning from the area off the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture to the area off the cost of Wakayama Prefecture), which was selected as the model area. These surveys showed successful results in discovering methane hydrate concentrated zones with a strong possibility for development, establishing a methane hydrate concentrated zone exploration method, and establishing a method for calculating the amount of original methane hydrate in place.

As for the establishment of the production method indispensable for methane hydrate development, MH21 propounded the depressurization method-based production going ahead of the rest of world through the establishment of a laboratory experiment method and the development of the methane hydrate development simulator. This theory was field-verified in the permanently-frozen ground of the Mackenzie Delta in Canada.

The above achievements positioned Japan as one of the world’s leading countries in methane hydrate development. Consequently, MH21 is advancing to Phase 2. These achievements are explained in clearly understandable terms on this website. We hope you will take the time to visit the site.

In Phase 2, offshore production tests in the areas surrounding Japan are scheduled. These tests will be the world first offshore methane hydrate production test. The main objectives of Phase 2 are to verify production methods and field development technology through the offshore production tests, while also extracting new required tasks from the test and solving them.

Although methane hydrate development studies have made remarkable progress over the last 10 years, many issues still remain to be solved in order for us to realize a stable and cost-effective commercialized production system. Under the new organization and with strengthened collaboration between industries, government and academic circles, MH21 is determined to work together to build technologies to commercially produce methane hydrate.

Please follow the activities of the Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan in Phase 2.

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